Local Leaders Fight Staffing Cuts At Selfridge

HARRISON TWP. (WWJ) – Michigan U.S. Senator Carl Levin is leading a hearing right now on Capitol Hill on proposed Air Force cuts that would affect Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, plans to find out why Selfridge is being targeted for over 700 full and part-time job cuts.

“And a very troubling aspect of the budget proposal is that, within these four structured changes, the cuts in manpower and aircraft are falling disproportionately on the Air National Guard,” Levin said.

If the cuts go through, it would slash jobs at Selfridge by nearly half.

Levin said the National Guard is being unfairly targeted.

“I have serious doubt and many questions about the wisdom of doing that, and the disproportionate impact of these proposed cuts on the Air National Guard,” Levin said.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel points out there are concerns other than national security.

“It lessens the opportunity for the governor, when he’s called upon, by a law enforcement agency, by a township supervisor, by the mayor of a town, to say, ‘You know what, Governor? I need some help from the Guard to help me out with a natural diasaster or some kind of civil unrest,” said Hackel.

“Not having the availability of these people here in our own backyard to help us with domestic issues is incredibly important,” he said.

In a letter to the Pentagon, Hackel, his counterparts from Wayne and Oakland Counties, along  with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, outlined the multiple reasons why they oppose the cuts.

Levin is planning to challenge proposed cuts to other bases across the U.S. as well.

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